Did I tell y’all that I actually managed to join up with a
writers’ group off of Craigslist?  Yes,
even after all the sarcastic fun-of-making that I did about the groups listed
on that site, I found myself in a coffee-and-wine shop discussing the tricks of
the trade with two cool women. 

We met again today, and each brought some work to
share.  I showed up with an essay I wrote
five years ago.  I felt like I was
cheating, but I wasn’t really.  I never
got the piece published, and I’m going to do so even if I have to print it on a
flyer and stick it up on lampposts. 

My fellow writers told me what editors never tell you: what’s
wrong with it.  If you’ve ever submitted
your work for publication and heard the deafening silence that usually results
(because the editor doesn’t even bother to acknowledge your submission), you
understand just how valuable that is.

I tried to give helpful feedback to the others in turn.  One woman brought a work-in-progress with an
environmental slant.  The third member of
our trio is working on a book about improving the functioning of one’s

She offered a factoid that caught my attention: Elderly people
who work crossword puzzles regularly (at least four per week) reduce their
chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease by half. 

I don’t think I qualify as elderly yet, but on the theory
that it sure couldn’t hurt, I tackled the crossword puzzle in today’s
paper.  I did pretty well, though I got
stuck in a few spots.  Technogeek’s
timely arrival helped me fill in the rest. 
If it takes both of us to complete the puzzle, do we only get a 25%
reduction in dementia risk?

Here’s a clue that stumped me: Old woman-ish.  5 letters.  Anyone know?

I only filled it in by getting the clues in the other

The answer is anile.  The American Heritage Dictionary defines it

  1. Of or
    like an old woman
  2. Senile

So I learned a new word today, which will hopefully help
prevent me from becoming anile.

I probably can’t use the word, though, because who would
know what it meant?  Not to worry.  If I write something that can’t be easily
understood, the good ladies in my writing group will tell me to ax it.




18 thoughts on “

  1. I wonder if previous crossword puzzle working counts? I was fanatically into them some back. Have you ever read this. (The link will open in PDF format.)RYC: Yes, it is so. And my neck is much cooler.

  2. Sometimes words just go out of style and people stop using them. I can’t think of one off the top of my head. I’m getting to be a senile anile. Or something.

  3. The deafening silence is generally because you don’t have the connections, which writers spend more time trying to find than they do write.  Or Black Swan status.  I avoid writers’ groups like the plague.  No, they are the plague.

  4. What’s the word for old man-ish?    My sister will never become senile. She not only does crosswords but she is a puzzle nut. I have all I can do to remember how to do my web page.

  5. It could be me, but I’m thinking it’s not actually the crossword puzzles that keep you from being senile.I mean, maybe elderly people who work 4 CROSSWORD PUZZLES A WEEK just happen to be the same ones who aren’t senile.It would be hard to do a crossword puzzle if you were senile, after all.*feel free to change all “seniles” to “anile”.Let’s see: alien, and um….well, there’s alien…Yikes. I’m senile already.

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